Degrees and Studies: M.A., M.Phil., Ph.D., Columbia University School of Arts and Sciences, in English and Comparative Literature; M.F.A. in writing, prosody, translation, Columbia University School of the Arts; Certificate in language instruction, The New School for Social Research; Post-Bac in Studio Art and Film, The School of the Art Institute of Chicago. BA, magna cum laude with honors and the Kaufmann Prize (awarded to one graduating English major), Williams College and Cambridge University; Diplome de Civilisation Francaise, Sorbonne, Extension Universitaire.
Stephen Massimilla’s fields of interest include 19th- and 20th-/21st-century fiction, poetry, and poetics; Romanticism; Core Curriculum (surveys of myth, epic, drama, and philosophy, Western and non-Western traditions); Postmodernism and Postcolonialism; poetry writing; nonfiction writing; translation; and film. As the former co-manager of an art gallery who has worked as a mural painter, a translator, and a photography book reviewer, as well as an editor at Art in America and elsewhere, Massimilla has lately been interested in exploring the interrelationship between different arts, genres, and languages. His current project explores connections between lyric poetry, recipes, literary and historical essays, and food writing. He has also written extensively on the role of myth and allusions to antiquity in modernist literature. He has written on Homer, Dante, Wordsworth, Tennyson, Nietzsche, W.B. Yeats, T.S. Eliot, Henry James, Virginia Woolf, W.C. Williams, Lorca, Walcott, contemporary poetry, Bergman, and Freud.
Massimilla’s co-authored Cooking with the Muse: A Sumptuous Gathering of Seasonal Recipes, Culinary Poetry, and Literary Fare (Tupelo, 2016) won over a dozen awards, including the Eric Hoffer Book Award, the National Indie Excellence Award, the New England Book Award, the Living Now Book Award, and many others. This 500-page large-format volume features 150 nutritious international recipes; a plenitude of nonfiction essays, poetic prose, and poems by Massimilla; a wide-ranging anthology of works by other poets; a guide to healthy, sustainable eating; illustrations; and 200 photographs, including many of his own. Cooking with the Muse received enthusiastic reviews in over seventy national and local publications and was named a “Top Pick” by publications ranging from Bella Magazine to Epicurus to The Chicago Tribune.
Massimilla’s latest poetry book, The Plague Doctor in His Hull-Shaped Hat (2013), was selected for publication in the Stephen F. Austin State University Press Poetry Series Prize Competition. His collection Forty Floors from Yesterday (Bordighera, CUNY, 2002) received the Sonia Raiziss-Giop Bordighera Prize and was translated into Italian by Luigi Bonaffini; his sonnet sequence Later on Aiaia (2001) received the Grolier Poetry Prize; his volume Almost a Second Thought was runner-up for the Salmon Run National Poetry Book Award, selected by X.J. Kennedy. Other work has received honors including a Van Rensselaer Award, selected by Kenneth Koch; an Academy of American Poets Prize; multiple Pushcart Prize nominations; and a Der-Hovanessian translation award citation from the New England Poetry Club. Massimilla has also translated book-length works by Pablo Neruda and other authors.
Massimilla’s articles, poems, translations, and reviews have appeared in hundreds of journals, magazines, and anthologies, including AGNI, The American Literary Review, Atlanta Review, Ariel: Review of International English Literature, Barrow Street, The Bitter Oleander, Chelsea, Colorado Review, The Cream City Review, Confrontation, Denver Quarterly, Descant, Diode, Epoch, Fulcrum, Green Mountains Review, The Greensboro Review, High Plains Literary Review, Interim, The Literary Review, The Marlboro Review, Natural Bridge, Provincetown Arts Magazine, Poet Lore, Poetry Daily, Notre Dame Review, RHINO Poetry, The Southern Review, The Spoon River Poetry Review, Tampa Review, Quarterly West, Valparaiso Review, Verse Daily, and such anthologies as Meridian Poetry Anthology, When Icarus Falls, Token Entry: New York City Subway Poems, Rabbit Ears: TV Poems, New Hungers for Old: One Hundred Years of Italian-American Poetry, and the recently released Tupelo Press anthology Myrrh, Mothwing, Smoke: Erotic Poems.
Massimilla has been interviewed on public radio and television, presented papers at numerous conferences, and performed his work at many venues, including Carnegie Hall. He teaches or has taught courses in literary classics, modernist/postmodernist poetry and novels, poetry writing, American literature, the philosophy of values, myth, composition, ESL, and other subjects at Columbia University, The New School, Barnard College, the 92nd Street Y, the Juilliard School, the School of Visual Arts, and elsewhere. Massimilla has also completed hundreds of paintings and thousands of drawings, a portion of which he has exhibited in galleries in Chicago, New York, and elsewhere.